Vienna Radio tunes up with live music

Vienna Radio tunes up with live music


norman lebrecht

April 22, 2020

Vienna may be the first to come out of the cold. From our occasional correspondent, Larry L. Lash:


About a week ago a columnist in the Austrian newspaper Kurier ran an item stating that it would be impossible for the Salzburg Festival to open as scheduled on 18 July and that no one was available for comment.

But apparently they were reading Kurier: a few hours later they issued a stern statement that they are waiting till the last minute – 30 May – to make any kind of decision and/or announcement. I am pessimistic.

Bregenz is holding the same position, but should there be some kind of relaxation of rules which would allow outdoor arena performances they wouldn’t need much lead time to open in mid-July, as the gargantuan “Rigoletto” set on the Bodensee stage was erected last year and they could launch pretty much on schedule.

Meanwhile, no one seems to notice that ORF is giving LIVE concerts on three consecutive Sunday nights at their RadioKulturhaus. They are being broadcast on ORF III (TV), Ö1 (radio), and (a subscription website) and archived for a week. You can access the live performances at 20:15 on Sunday nights or catch them later on the ORF and Ö1 websites.

The cooperation with Wiener Staatsoper began last Sunday (19 April) as Anna Netrebko & Yusef (joined, I believe, at the hip), Juan Diego Flórez, Elena Maximova, Jongmin Park, Tomasz Konieczny, and Valentina Nafornita performed a couple of numbers in the empty auditorium, accompanied by a properly-distanced string quartet from RSO-Wien and a Staatsoper pianist. Jonas Kaufmann, Piotr Beczala, and Andreas Schager and his violinist wife contributed video recordings from their homes in, respectively, Bavaria, Poland, and their backyard in Niederösterreich. It was quite a lovely event, sadly only 75 minutes.

Next Sunday will be devoted to operetta with members of Volksoper Wien, and the following week to musicals in cooperation with Vereinigte Bühnen Wien.



  • MusicBear88 says:

    Members of the hr-Sinfonieorchester, Frankfurt, have been broadcasting live solo and duo performances for about ten days now. Offerings have included solo harp, a new composition for percussion, a bassoon duo, some strings, clarinet and (coming tonight) flute.

  • MezzoLover says:

    I just finished watching the first installment of “WIR SPIELEN FÜR ÖSTERREICH” on ORF III, and Larry is right – it was over way too soon! This is definitely one of the most enjoyable post-corona live-streamed concerts from Europe to-date.

    Tomasz Konieczny doing Gershwin with a Polish accent? Jongmin Park singing a Korean song by a popular South Korean female pianist/songwriter? Absolutely brilliant!

    Thank you Larry for the heads-up. I am eagerly looking forward to the operetta episode this coming Sunday.

  • A.L. says:

    Who has the time for all this streaming left right up down corner to corner front and center each and every day at all hours? It is truly insane and getting more tiresome by the minute. Don’t all these artists, radio stations, social media platforms and institutions know that we were already way overloaded with information, entertainment and choices LONG before Covid-19? I mean, as it is I can’t even keep up with my own music library. One can smell the fear of obsolescence and ensuing despair from miles apart. Instead of contemplating some semblance of silence or peace or restoration, all these people find themselves, or are pressured, into a trance of franticity.

    • Jaura says:

      Just shut down your f$&@ing computer! No one is forcing you to watch!

    • MezzoLover says:

      To me, this is not only how musicians around the world connect and communicate with their audiences during this challenging time – it also allows them to put things in perspective and make us all appreciate music-making as a participative art form even more.

      And they are all doing it in their own, individual way. The Berlin Philharmonic, for example, has put together a series of short programs in lieu of their cancelled Baden Baden Easter Festival, with a mixture of live performances, past concerts and archival videos. In the second installment which is focused on Gustav Mahler, they show a rare footage of Claudio Abbado rehearsing Mahler’s first symphony with the BPO. When the self-effacing Abbado (“Call me Claudio”, he famously insisted when the BPO members first greeted him with the title “maestro”) politely asked the horn section to sit down – with a big, boyish smile on his face – after they had all stood up, per Mahler’s score, at the beginning of the final movement’s coda, I almost teared up!

    • Alan O'Connor says:

      Without a doubt the most mean spirited post I’ve ever seen on this blog. Good lord would you stop.

  • Jackyt says:

    Figaro is allowing us to watch the concert free for a couple more days. I thoroughly recommend it. Don’t miss JDF, who’s on first, or seeing JK singing to his coffee cup and addressing the audience at the end in German.(Can anyone translate that bit for me?!)

  • Jackyt says:
    is the website showing the concert free for a couple more days not, as I wrote, Figaro (too many Figaros confusing me!)